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Random Ramblings About 2016 and My Top Ten Books From the Year

Well, 2016 is almost over and all I have to say is thank goodness! This year was crazy, and while I had some good times, I also had a lot of stress. Depending on how long you’ve been following the blog, you may or may not know that I moved this summer. We only moved an hour away from our old location but we made the move because the Mister’s job relocated him to a new office and that office was an hour away… in horrible city traffic. It was taking him at least two hours to get home every night. So, we decided to pack up our stuff, in the middle of the summer heat, and move. I’m pretty sure we moved during a heat wave. Anyways, that was brutal and not something I ever want to do again. Mainly because the Mister refused to drive the massive moving truck we got, which mean lil ol’ me drove that behemoth. And let me tell you, the people in SoCal do not like to use their garages or driveways for whatever reason. So I had to maneuver this thing through small residential roads with cars lining both sides. It was not fun.

 

One thing I LOVED about 2016 was the fact that I finally got to go to RT convention. I’d been following it for years watching it bounce all over the map but never making it to my neck of the woods. Then, when they announced it was going to be in LA, only a six hour drive for me, I bought a ticket and went. I had a blast. Granted at the time I was wondering why anyone in their right mind would do this year after year. I mean, it is stressful and oh so overwhelming. You had multiple classes, parties, and panels going on at the same time, then you only had like ten minutes to rush to the next event. However, if it was a party, there were people lining up for it like an hour in advance. So, there were a few times where I got in line for something only to not make it in, not get a goodie bag, or not get a seat. It was all about sitting in lines for parties. Which was the fun part because you got goodie bags with books and author swag. Plus, those goodie bags were reusable tote bags (which I love!), AND most of the time it was a way to interact with your favorite authors one-on-one. Not going to lie to you though, the most rewarding thing I found were the panels. Sitting in a small room while you favorite author, or maybe even an author you’d never heard of before (happened to me a lot since my roommates and I were mixing our schedules together), and you got to listen to how they created something that thousands of people now read. Anything from, how to write humor, where it comes from (lot of it they take from personal conversations), how to write a steamy scene that’s believable, how to co-author a book when you don’t even live in the same state, how to write suspense, how to write sports romance when you are not in fact a pro-athlete. I mean, there was just so much behind-the-scenes stuff I learned that I honestly found that to be the most rewarding.

 

I could go on and on about all that happened this year behind the scenes and that would probably explain why I’ve been a bit absent here and there. 2016 has been poppin’ and while I’m sad to see it go, I’m ready to see what 2017 has in store. However, I would like to take a moment to list some of my favorite books that I read in 2016. I mean, this is a book blog after all. I have to talk about books. 😉

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A week of craziness.

So, you might have noticed that I’ve gone a bit silent recently. If you follow my Instagram, then you know why, but for those of you who aren’t on Instagram I’ll fill ya in. So, The Mister and I went to San Diego last week to attend Comic-Con. Leading up to our trip, I was scrambling to get my costume in order, figure out a way to dye my hair purple, and make sure the kiddos and plants were all set-up for our time away. While, I did have a friend house sitting while we were gone, I still wanted to make sure everything was in order so that she didn’t have to worry about too much stuff. So, for the past month I’ve been a bit scatterbrained trying to get ready for the big convention.

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Top 10 books I read in 2017

I can’t believe it’s already 2018! Last year was a little chaotic for me. It seemed like there was always something going on, and my reading/blogging took a hit because of it. Thankfully, I was able to talk my sister, Jodi, into coming on board and helping me review for the blog. She loves to read and has a different genre preference than I do. She likes more Stephen King and paranormal books, whereas I like romance novels. So, it’s been great having her help out because she will be adding a little something different to the blog.

While I never did meet my Goodreads goal for the year, I did read a little over 100 books. So, I am not too upset with my reading from last year. While there were a lot of duds for me, there were also some really amazing books that I read last year. A few of which surprised me. I just want to take a moment to highlight some of my favorite reads from last year.

 

Top 10 books I read in 2017

 

Haven by Mary Lindsay [review]

Rain Ryland has never belonged anywhere, He’s used to people judging him for his rough background, his intimidating size, and now, his orphan status. He’s always been on the outside, looking in, and he’s fine with that. Until he moves to New Wurzburg and meets Friederike Burkhart.

Freddie isn’t like normal teen girls, though. And someone wants her dead for it. Freddie warns he’d better stay far away if he wants to stay alive, but Rain’s never been good at running from trouble. For the first time, Rain has something worth fighting for, worth living for. Worth dying for.

 

 

The Ones Who Got Away by Roni Loren [review]

It’s been twelve years since tragedy struck the senior class of Long Acre High School. Only a few students survived that fateful night—a group the media dubbed The Ones Who Got Away.

Liv Arias thought she’d never return to Long Acre—until a documentary brings her and the other survivors back home. Suddenly her old flame, Finn Dorsey, is closer than ever, and their attraction is still white-hot. When a searing kiss reignites their passion, Liv realizes this rough-around-the-edges cop might be exactly what she needs…

 

 

Menagerie by Rachel Vincent [review]

When Delilah Marlow visits a famous traveling carnival, Metzger’s Menagerie, she is an ordinary woman in a not-quite-ordinary world. But under the macabre circus black-top, she discovers a fierce, sharp-clawed creature lurking just beneath her human veneer. Captured and put on exhibition, Delilah in her black swan burlesque costume is stripped of her worldly possessions, including her own name, as she’s forced to “perform” in town after town.

But there is breathtaking beauty behind the seamy and grotesque reality of the carnival. Gallagher, her handler, is as kind as he is cryptic and strong. The other “attractions”—mermaids, minotaurs, gryphons and kelpies—are strange, yes, but they share a bond forged by the brutal realities of captivity. And as Delilah struggles for her freedom, and for her fellow menagerie, she’ll discover a strength and a purpose she never knew existed.

 

 

Rosemarked by Livia Blackburne [review]

A healer who cannot be healed . . .

When Zivah falls prey to the deadly rose plague, she knows it’s only a matter of time before she fully succumbs. Now she’s destined to live her last days in isolation, cut off from her people and unable to practice her art—until a threat to her village creates a need that only she can fill.

A soldier shattered by war . . .

Broken by torture at the hands of the Amparan Empire, Dineas thirsts for revenge against his captors. Now escaped and reunited with his tribe, he’ll do anything to free them from Amparan rule—even if it means undertaking a plan that risks not only his life but his very self.

Thrust together on a high-stakes mission to spy on the capital, the two couldn’t be more different: Zivah, deeply committed to her vow of healing, and Dineas, yearning for vengeance. But as they grow closer, they must find common ground to protect those they love. And amidst the constant fear of discovery, the two grapple with a mutual attraction that could break both of their carefully guarded hearts.

This smart, sweeping fantasy with a political edge and a slow-burning romance will capture fans of The Lumatere Chronicles and An Ember in the Ashes.

 

 

Nyxia by Scott Reintgen [review]

Emmett Atwater isn’t just leaving Detroit; he’s leaving Earth. Why the Babel Corporation recruited him is a mystery, but the number of zeroes on their contract has him boarding their lightship and hoping to return to Earth with enough money to take care of his family.

Forever.

Before long, Emmett discovers that he is one of ten recruits, all of whom have troubled pasts and are a long way from home. Now each recruit must earn the right to travel down to the planet of Eden—a planet that Babel has kept hidden—where they will mine a substance called Nyxia that has quietly become the most valuable material in the universe.

But Babel’s ship is full of secrets. And Emmett will face the ultimate choice: win the fortune at any cost, or find a way to fight that won’t forever compromise what it means to be human.

 

 

Ride Wild by Laura Kaye [review]

Brotherhood. Club. Family.
They live and ride by their own rules.
These are the Raven Riders…

Wild with grief over the death of his wife, Sam “Slider” Evans merely lives for his two sons. Nothing holds his interest anymore—not even riding his bike or his membership in the Raven Riders Motorcycle Club. But that all changes when he hires a new babysitter.

Recently freed from a bad situation by the Ravens, Cora Campbell is determined to bury the past. When Slider offers her a nanny position, she accepts, needing the security and time to figure out what she wants from life. Cora adores his sweet boys, but never expected the red-hot attraction to their brooding, sexy father. If only he would notice her…

Slider does see the beautiful, fun-loving woman he invited into his home. She makes him feel too much, and he both hates it and yearns for it. But when Cora witnesses something she shouldn’t have, the new lives they’ve only just discovered are threatened. Now Slider must claim—and protect—what’s his before it’s too late.

 

 

Trust by Kylie Scott [review]

Being young is all about the experiences: the first time you skip school, the first time you fall in love…the first time someone holds a gun to your head.

After being held hostage during a robbery at the local convenience store, seventeen-year-old Edie finds her attitude about life shattered. Unwilling to put up with the snobbery and bullying at her private school, she enrolls at the local public high school, crossing paths with John. The boy who risked his life to save hers.

While Edie’s beginning to run wild, however, John’s just starting to settle down. After years of partying and dealing drugs with his older brother, he’s going straight—getting to class on time, and thinking about the future.

An unlikely bond grows between the two as John keeps Edie out of trouble and helps her broaden her horizons. But when he helps her out with another first—losing her virginity—their friendship gets complicated.

Meanwhile, Edie and John are pulled back into the dangerous world they narrowly escaped. They were lucky to survive the first time, but this time they have more to lose—each other.

 

 

Run to Ground by Katie Ruggle [review]

He lost his mentor.
He lost his K9 partner.
He almost lost his will to live.
But when a ruthless killer targets a woman on the run, Theo and his new K9 companion will do whatever it takes to survive—and save the woman neither can live without.

Grieving the death of his partner, Theo Bosco has no room in his life for distractions. Though his instincts scream that he should avoid Juliet ‘Jules’ Jackson, he can’t seem to stay away. It doesn’t help that Theo’s new K9 companion has fallen head over paws with Jules’s rambunctious family.

Or that when he’s with her, Theo finally knows peace.

When Jules rescued her siblings, whisking them away to the safety of the beautifully rugged Colorado Rockies, she never expected to catch the eye—or the heart—of a cop. Yet as Jules struggles to fight her growing attraction to the brooding K9 officer, another threat lurks much closer to home…

And this time, there’s no escape.

 

 

Master Professor by Tara Sue Me [review]

Students are begging to be held after class…

Andie Lincoln is madly in love with Terrence Knight–her childhood friend-turned-Hollywood’s newest golden boy. But he’s a Dominant and wants her trained as a submissive before he’ll consider a relationship with her. He enrolls her at the RACK Academy with strict instructions for her teachers: Do whatever you need to, but don’t take her virginity.

Fulton Matthews, the director of incoming students, is enthralled by Andie. Though he questioned her enrollment at first, watching her discover her submissive nature is hotter than his most intense fantasy. Under his control, her sexual awakening brings him to his knees.

Yet they can go only so far. Andie belongs to another, and Fulton is bound by a contract that strictly forbids relationships between teachers and students. But when Terrence comes to collect his prize, Fulton discovers it’s not easy to let Andie go. . .

 

 

Written in Red by Anne Bishop [review]

No one creates realms like New York Times bestselling author Anne Bishop. Now in a thrilling new fantasy series, enter a world inhabited by the Others, unearthly entities—vampires and shape-shifters among them—who rule the Earth and whose prey are humans.

As a cassandra sangue, or blood prophet, Meg Corbyn can see the future when her skin is cut—a gift that feels more like a curse. Meg’s Controller keeps her enslaved so he can have full access to her visions. But when she escapes, the only safe place Meg can hide is at the Lakeside Courtyard—a business district operated by the Others.

Shape-shifter Simon Wolfgard is reluctant to hire the stranger who inquires about the Human Liaison job. First, he senses she’s keeping a secret, and second, she doesn’t smell like human prey. Yet a stronger instinct propels him to give Meg the job. And when he learns the truth about Meg and that she’s wanted by the government, he’ll have to decide if she’s worth the fight between humans and the Others that will surely follow.

 

 

What were some of your favorite books from 2017?

 

 

I’ll be at #RT16 next week!

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Mostly everyone in the book blogging world—and also the reading world—has heard about the RT Booklovers Convention. The first time I’d heard about it was when I was stalking… er, I mean visiting one of my favorite author’s websites and saw that they were going to be in Los Angeles that weekend at this RT Convention. I got really excited, told the Mr he was driving the 4 hour trip with me so that I could meet her. Then I realized that I had no flipping idea what day it was and that the convention’s book fair was the previous weekend. Waaah waaaah. Yeeeah. That was a pretty low moment for me. There may have been a glass or two of wine that night. And the RT Convention hasn’t been my way since… until this year! :cue the Rocky theme song:

That’s right! Homegirl has put on her boxing gloves and is finally stepping into the ring to redeem herself. The moment I saw that RT was going to be in Las Vegas—a mere 6.5 hour drive for me—I immediately started pestering the Mister about it. Needless to say, even when I told him the cost to simply attend the event—not including travel/hotel/food expense— he didn’t even bat an eyelash at me. *God, I love that man* So, I’ve been sitting here twiddling my thumbs waiting for the event to finally come… and it has!

So, this is just a heads up that I will be “out of the office” until next week. 😉 Heck, some of you may have noticed that I’ve been MIA for the past week or two. That’s because I’ve been shopping and pretty much going nuts trying to get ready last minute for the convention. I didn’t actually procrastinate this time but my steampunk costume had to be ordered in pieces online and well nothing worked out for me. I didn’t even have boots for my outfit until two days ago. It has been a stressful to say the least.

Anyways, if you’re going to be at RT this year, be sure to send me a tweet. I don’t have a smart phone (yes, I’m totally old school) so I will only really have access to twitter on my tablet.

Eight long months but we crossed the finish line!

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weebsYou may remember way back when to my post in June when I announced that blogging for me may be a bit sporadic due to the discovery of one of my fur-babies having lymphoma. Her doctor gave her a high chance of of beating the cancer since it was a total fluke that we’d even caught it at such an early stage. After months of treatment, my little girl is finally in remission!

We got really lucky. Not only did the vet catch the cancer before it even fully developed into something more serious, but my little girl took the chemotherapy like a champ. I’m pretty sure I took the trips to her oncologist a lot harder than she did. Thankfully, she didn’t have any of the side-effects from the treatment that some animals experience. Sure, there were days where she just wanted to be by herself and sleep, but that was it. Her side-effects were pretty much cosmetic. She lost all but one whisker and the fur by her ears thinned out a bit.

Needless to say, I’ve kind of been in celebration mode for the last week with her. She’s been getting spoiled even more so than before now. We even got her a ball pit to play in. I’m surprised the Mr. approved that idea.

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I still can’t believe it’s all finally over. Eight long months of wondering if we made the right decision and whether or not the chemotherapy would even work. This news could not have come at a better time since at this same time two years ago, I unexpectedly lost my fur-baby, Snickers, to cancer. So needless to say, I really needed this good news.

I’m just so glad that Weeble’s kicked cancer’s butt and can go back to the care-free lazy days that she’s used to. 🙂

 

 

Behind the scenes

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With so many bloggers out there all typing up reviews for the same books, I always find it interesting to get a look behind the scenes. How do the other bloggers operate? How did they come up with their features? And how the heck do they get so many posts in?! Well, I do not have other bloggers helping me out. I am a one woman show and I’m going to take you behind the scenes of what it’s like for me to write my reviews.

 

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Sunday Wrap-Up #42

Sunday Wrap-Up is all about sharing the books and book related items that I’ve picked up recently. I also recap what went on last week and let you in on what’s coming up. I link up my post to Sunday Post, Bought, Borrowed & Bagged, Showcase Sunday, and Stacking the Shelves.

 
 
I know I don’t do these every week but that’s because I’ve slowed way down on review books. I have been wanting to catch up on my books that have been neglected which means nothing new is really coming it. So my Sunday wrap-ups will more than likely only happen once a month unless I get some huge haul in for some reason or another.

If you follow me on Twitter or Tsu you may have saw me talking about this year’s San Diego Comic-Con and how I was successful in getting a slot on the volunteer list. I’ve been trying to get into Comic-Con for two years now and have never been able to snag a ticket. This year I decided to try to get a volunteer slot and I was able to make the cut. Super excited to be going to SDCC this year.

I’ve teamed up with Christina from Christina Reads YA to do a read along for Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs. Our goal is to push each other to read books that have been sitting on our shelf for a while. I definitely need pushing since I keep getting distracted by new books coming out. This week alone had a lot of amazing books that came out. I’m also doing a read-along for the Alpha and Omega series by Patricia Briggs leading up to the upcoming release of Dead Heat with a group of bloggers (link on sidebar).

This week I also posted the sign-up linky for the Lucky Shamrock Giveaway Hop for next month. It’s only my second year doing it but I love the idea that there are no hoops for entrants to jump through in order to enter the giveaway. All they need is a little luck on their side.

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Last week on BSA:
Lucky Shamrock Giveaway Hop (Sign-Ups)
Eleven Weeks by Lauren K. McKellar (Excerpt)
The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski (Review)
Melt Into You by Roni Loren (Review)
One of the Guys by Lisa Aldin (Review)
 

This week on BSA:
Book Covers: Are They Important to You? (Ramblings of a Book Sniffer)
Kiss of Fire by Deborah Cooke (Review)
Some Boys by Patty Blout (Review)
All Over You by Emily Snow (Review)

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Sunday Wrap-Up #40

Sunday Wrap-Up is all about sharing the books and book related items that I’ve picked up recently. I also recap what went on last week and let you in on what’s coming up. I link up my post to Sunday Post, Bought, Borrowed & Bagged, Showcase Sunday, and Stacking the Shelves.
 
 
I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. I don’t know about you guys but I’ve been hella busy with the holidays… and it’s only the Mr and me. However, I still go all out for the feast and had two days of prep work for the french toast casserole and lasagna that I make since I make the sauce and bread myself. Plus, after dinner on Christmas we went over to our friends house (who just so happen to live across the street from us) and wound up hanging out with them and drinking until the wee hours of the morning. So, yeah… not a lot of reading or blogging has been getting done. Sadly, it may continue to be slow here until after the new year since I have a friend visiting from out of town tomorrow and then New Years Eve festivities going on.

Oh and before I forget, if you didn’t see it on Facebook (which a lot of you don’t since FB is being crazy and hiding a lot of my posts from people)… I have joined tsu for those who have switched over to that networking site. So if you use that site, be sure to pop over to my page and add me as a friend.

tsu
 
 
Last week on BSA:
Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews (Review)
Mating Instinct by Katie Reus (Review)
Ramblings of a Book Sniffer: Problems with Facebook (Post)

This week on BSA:
Devoured by Emily Snow (Review)
Hard Bitten by Chloe Neil (Review)
My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent (Review)

 
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I’m Still Here!

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Sunday Wrap-Up #31

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